The Phantom of the Opera
14/10/2008 - 30/11/2008
As the longest running musical on Broadway, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA recently celebrated 21 years since opening. It has been performed in 25 countries in 124 cities around the world and has won more than 50 major theatre awards, including seven Tony Awards.
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA tells the story of a disfigured musical genius known only as ‘The Phantom’ who haunts the depths of the Paris Opera House. Mesmerised by the talents and beauty of a young soprano – Christine, the Phantom lures her as his protégé and falls fiercely in love with her. Unaware of Christine’s love for Raoul, The Phantom’s obsession sets the scene for a dramatic turn of events where jealously, madness and passions collide.
With spectacular sets and more than 230 costumes by international designer, the late Maria Björnson, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA contains some of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most famous music, including "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Music of the Night".
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical is based upon the novel Le Fantome De L’Opera by Gaston Leroux. Original London production by Cameron Mackintosh and The Really Useful Group. THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is presented in New Zealand by The Really Useful Company Asia Pacific and The Gordon/Frost Organisation.
Tickets are now on sale from The Edge, call 0800 BUY TICKETS (0800 289 842) or online at www.the-edge.co.nz and from www.thephantomoftheopera.co.nz
The Civic, The Edge – Auckland
From October 14, 2008 for a strictly limited season
Tuesday to Saturday, 7.30pm
Wednesday and Saturday 1.30pm and Sunday 3.00pm
$79.90 – $119.90 (booking fees may apply)
Anthony Warlow - The Phantom
Ana Marina - Christine
Alexander Lewis - Raoul
Andrea Creighton - Carlotta
Rogers-Smith - Piangi
John O'May - Firmin
Derek Taylor - Andre
Jackie Rees - Madame Giry
THE CREATIVE TEAM
Maria Björnson - Production Design
Andrew Bridge - Lighting Design
Martin Levan - Sound Design
Arthur Masella - Associate Director
Guy Noble - Musical Supervisor
Patricia Merrin - Associate Choreographer
Rainer Fried - Assistant Director
The Really Useful Company Asia Pacific
The Gordon/Frost Organisation
Phantom’s haunting tale stands the test of time
Review by Paul Simei-Barton 20th Oct 2008
Since its London debut in 1986 The Phantom of the Opera has spawned a plethora of productions throughout the world and with box-office receipts surpassing Cats, the show can accurately lay claim to being the world’s most popular musical.
To explain the phenomenal appeal of the show, the obvious place to start is the music – lush, eerie and intensely romantic. [More]
Copyright © in the review belongs to the reviewer
Unforgettable night of musical craft, extraordinary performances and technical wizardry
Review by Kate Ward-Smythe 20th Oct 2008
Eighteen years of accolades & superlatives set an expectation that is almost palpable as Auckland’s "glitterati" take their seats for Friday’s Grand Opening.
Three hours later, a standing ovation confirms The Phantom of the Opera has delivered on the promises made in the hype.
Production values & the execution of technical mastery are all second to none.
The semi-gothic set is exquisite, and the costumes and wigs are lavish and awe-inspiring (production design by Maria Bjornson); the choreography is beautiful (Gillian Lynne); the lighting (Andrew Bridge) and sound (Martin Levan) designs both bring exceptional detail and subtlety during quieter moments, yet deliver immediate impact to the eyes and ears in climatic scenes.
Under the precise musical direction of Guy Simpson, the orchestra is virtually note-perfect (the strings in particular, soar). The design, pace and smoothness of each scene transition or transformation, plus the well-known chandelier scene, is the work of world-class technicians, mechanists and flymen (special effects designer Howard Eaton and technical director Richard Martin).
Directed with fluid exactness by Harold Prince, I particularly love the undercurrent of fear and discipline he infuses, into this opera company, of entrenched hierarchy and strict codes of behaviour.
Yet the key driver of this show’s success is Lloyd Webber’s music. Those infectious melodies, still inside my head, combined with the lyrics of Charles Hart (plus additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe), draw us in willingly, as this musical phenomenon vividly brings to life Gaston Leroux’s dark 19th century novel about a mysterious Phantom that lurks in the watery depths of the Paris Opera House.
Add to Lloyd Webber’s infectious score, the voice and mesmerising performance of Anthony Warlow as The Phantom, and the night belongs to him. Warlow seduces not only Christine (delicately performed by Auckland born beauty, Ana Marina) but also his audience, drawing empathy, compassion and, from some women around me, enough emotional investment, to reduce them to tears. This I was not expecting, but such is the craft of Warlow, the Phantom’s plight becomes fascinating and consuming.
Vocally, Anthony Warlow is quite simply brilliant: shivers down the spine material.
Ably supported by an exceptional cast and company, each give us delicious highlights.
As Prima-Donna Carlotta, Soprano and NZ Mobil Song-Quest winner Andrea Creighton relishes every opportunity not only to showcase her legitimate operatic prowess, technique, and stylish French accent, but also throw in diva histrionics to great comic effect.
Similarly, David Rogers-Smith’s perfectly pitched performance as Piangi, is a fantastic mix of impressive vocal craft and humour.
Ana Marina takes full advantage of having the stage to herself in Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again, showcasing her full vocal range and colour in a genuinely moving performance.
As Raoul, Alexander Lewis has strong presence and is very watchable, right from the moment he recognises Christine from his corporate box during her debut performance. He is unashamedly romantic in All I Ask Of You and the vocal blend between the young couple is lovely.
Playing the opera company’s new management (Messrs Firmin and Andre), John O’May & Derek Taylor compliment each other very well, and are the perfect comedy duo, full of flutter, nerves and flattery as they try in vain to take charge of their fresh investment.
In stark contrast, Jackie Rees’ magnificently austere Madame Giry only has to appear, and she commands respect.
The ensemble cast deserve a collective mention: each company number is executed with precision, skill and flare. In particular, Masquerade is a visual & aural sensory treat.
Even if you saw the last production of Phantom which came to NZ 12 years ago (with the late, great Rob Guest* in the title role), make the time to come again: this show is an unforgettable night of musical craft, extraordinary performances and technical wizardry. The Phantom of the Opera has the wow factor from start to finish.
*Rob received the first applause of the night, when as the auditorium faded into darkness, a voice-over informed us that tonight’s performance was dedicated to him. It was a very generous, well-received moment.
Copyright © in the review belongs to the reviewer